Homemade Coconut Milk, Coconut Cream and Coconut Butter

Coconut is amazing. You can turn it into flour, milk, oil or butter. You can drink the water. You can simply eat the coconut. You can buy it shredded or in cans. Most of us don’t think about how simple it is to make things ourselves and so we pay $14 for a jar of coconut butter or $2.50 for a can of coconut milk and resign ourselves to shelling out for it because it’s awesome.

My kids have to take milk to school to fulfill some bullshit calcium requirement and since they’re dairy free, we’ve been sending them off with coconut milk. I’ve tried watering down canned coconut milk but it tastes…canned. I had started buying coconut milk “drink” in tetra paks, but at $2 each, it was getting expensive. Plus, one look at the “vitamins” on the side revealed that all the additives were artificial – even in the Trader Joe’s brand. I read a post on The Primal Parent about the damage that those artificial vitamins can do and how to make your own almond milk (which I did, and it was amazing but I can’t send the kids off to school with any type of nut product). So, I set off to make my own coconut milk. I simply used shredded coconut instead of nuts and used the same procedure.

The result was the silkiest, smoothest most delicous coconut milk I’ve ever had. It was fragrant. With a flavor I’d never tasted before. It tasted…fresh. The first batch I made separated in the fridge and had to be brought to room temperature and re-blended in order to drink it so I set about tweaking it. The fat congealed in one big lump and floated to the top. Frequent attempts to shake it back into submission only resulted in the lump getting bigger, much like dairy butter. (In case you’re curious, the fat that separated was pure coconut cream — or more correctly, coconut butter, but we tend to think of coconut butter as something else — I’ll get to that later. We’ll just call it cream for simplicity’s sake.) It was richer and smoother than the coconut cream you buy in the store and didn’t taste like it had come from China, which is how the stuff I’ve found tends to taste. It was solid like a block of butter is when you first remove it from the fridge, but when it warmed up it had the consistency of whipping cream.

Coconut butter is like peanut butter — the flesh of the nut with the absolute shit blended out of it. It’s not technically “butter” any more than almond butter is butter, but it is beyond amazing. It’s also very expensive. Artisana sells a 16-oz jar of Coconut Butter for almost 14 bucks. Sure, it’s raw. And organic. So is the stuff you can make at home. I estimate you can make a 16-oz jar of the stuff yourself for less than three dollars, depending on how much you got your coconut for. I bought a jar before I started experimenting so that I would know what it tasted like. It tasted like an orgasm feels. There is no other way to describe it.

So how do you make these things yourself? Well, here are the recipes.

Coconut Butter

You’re going to feel like a dimwit when I tell you how easy this one is, but don’t. Please. We’ve become programmed to think that only the all-powerful food industry holds the secret to foods like mayonnaise, peanut butter and pickles, but they are incredibly easy — and way cheaper — to make at home.

Things You’ll Need:

  • Blender (a high powered blender like a Vitamix work the best but any old blender will do.)
  • Shredded Coconut (I use Bob’s Red Mill Fine Macaroon Unsweetened Coconut. You can use any brand you want, but make sure it is finely shredded and unsweetened.)

1. Put the shredded coconut in the blender and put on the lid. You’ll want to use at least a couple cups of coconut since it reduces and you’ll definitely want more than a tablespoon of finished product.

2. Turn on the blender and gradually turn it up to high.

With a Vitamix, you’ll have finished coconut butter in about 3 minutes. With a regular blender, it might take as long as 15-20 minutes, but it will eventually turn into butter. Turn off the blender and scrap down the sides if you need to once the butter starts to form. Blend to desired consistency (just taste it to figure out how smooth you want it).

That. Is. It.

Note
: Don’t add any type of sweetener to your coconut butter. I know it looks like icing, but it isn’t. I tried to make “icing” by adding some agave nectar and strangely enough, it dried the coconut butter out. No amount of re-blending gave it back the wonderful consistency it had before I added the agave. It should be fine if you’re using the coconut butter in a recipe that also calls for sweetener.

Coconut Milk and Cream

You can use this exact same recipe to make cashew milk, almond milk or any-type-of-nut milk, including a wonderful blend of all your favorites. Just make sure you drain and rinse the nuts and use fresh water in your recipe. With coconut milk, you use the same water that you soak the coconut in. This is the only difference.

Things You’ll Need:

  • Shredded Coconut
  • Blender
  • Filtered Water
  • Tea towel (I use Flour Sack Towels. Love, love, love them.)
  • Clean glass bottle
  • Funnel if your bottle has a narrow mouth
  • Guar Gum (if you want the cream to stay emulsified in the coconut milk)
  • Sugar/Honey (optional)
  • Vanilla (optional)

You’ll have to experiment with coconut to water ratios to get the consistency that you like but here are some basics that I like:

  • Coconut milk to drink: 1 cup coconut, 4 cups water
  • Coconut milk to cook with: 2 cups coconut, 4 cups water

1. Soak coconut in filtered water for several hours or overnight. I just do this step right in my blender. Less mess, fewer dishes. Work smarter, not harder. Flip the switch a couple times during the day to mix it all up, if you feel the need.

2. When you’re ready, turn the blender on high for 2-3 minutes in a Vitamix, a little longer (say 5 minutes) in a regular blender.

3. Set up your glass bottle, funnel and tea towel. 4. Strain the coconut milk by pouring it slowly into the funnel and squeezing the excess liquid into the bottle. You can discard the leftover pulp or use it for recipes. (It’s rather tasteless at this point) Repeat until all the milk is strained.

5. When you’ve finished straining your coconut milk, you have several options. If you want it unflavored and unsweetened, or you want coconut cream you can go ahead and drink it now or put it in the fridge. Otherwise, you’re going to need to return it to the blender. This is what I do.

6. I add 1 tsp of vanilla, 1 tablespoon of regular sugar and 1/4 tsp of guar gum while the blender is on. That way the guar gum doesn’t clump. I usually mix the guar gum with the sugar and add them together. It seems to work quite well.

7. When the coconut milk is flavored/sweetened to your taste, pour it back into your glass bottle.

A note on using Guar Gum: The following pictures are of freshly made coconut milk using guar gum. Notice the separation on the left. Even though you’ve used guar gum, the coconut milk will separate several times. Just give it a little shake to remix it. The guar gum keeps the fat from clumping when you refrigerate it and will eventually keep it emulsified once the temperature has dropped. If you don’t use any, you will end up with a clump of coconut cream that will not mix back into the milk unless you bring it to room temperature and reblend it. Using Xanthan Gum makes a product thicker and is not what you want in this case, unless you want to thicken the coconut milk up. I caution against this, though. If you want thicker coconut milk, use more coconut and less water. Xanthan gum gives your finished milk a slimy feel, especially if you use too much. Be careful with the amount of Guar Gum, too. The same thing can happen. A scant 1/4 tsp in 4 cups of water is enough.

8. Your fresh coconut milk will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. You can also freeze it, but be prepared for some separation when it thaws.

Let me know how it turns out for you! Try making some other nut milks. My favorite is cashew milk. Just make sure you soak the nuts for about 12 hours and dump the water out and rinse before beginning. Nuts contain phytic acid and other anti-nutrients you don’t necessarily want to drink.

Save yourself some time:

Once you’ve made your nut butter, leave some in the blender and add water. Blend for a minute or so and then strain. Instant nut milk! Plus you’ve used up the last bits in the blender and made cleanup easier.


Comments

Homemade Coconut Milk, Coconut Cream and Coconut Butter — 66 Comments

  1. Hi!
    That does sound like real easy. I really want to try this, I’m a big fan of anything coconut. But i do have one question. Can i also use fresh coconut? I can’t find any shredded unsweetened coconut around my area.

    • I’ve never used fresh coconut myself, but I’m sure that it would be even better. You wouldn’t need to soak it and the water to coconut ratio would be less since the coconut already has water in it, but other than that, I assume it would be a fairly similar procedure. Try it out, you have nothing to lose! :) Let me know what amounts of water and coconut work out for you. Just chunk it up and make sure you have a high powered blender.
      You can order shredded coconut on Amazon – if you use the subscribe and save feature, you save 15% plus it’s free shipping. :)

      • Hey Primalgirl,
        I did do the coconut and the butter was amazing! I did have to have it for a long time in the processor, but then again my processor is not the strongest. :)

          • I hardly ever did buy coconut milk and cream, because they usually have this really yuk chemical taste. So it’s really great that i can now make my own.
            I do want to add that even though i kept the coconut butter in the fridge it did go bad after 5-6 days.

          • That’s strange. First off, it shouldn’t need refrigeration. I had mine out on the counter for over a month and it was totally fine. Sorry to hear that! Guess it means you need to eat it quick, lol.

    • Roxana, I’m currently living in South America so, like you, I cannot buy shredded coconut. Well I can but it’s sweetened and contains all kinds of crap plus it’s dry as the sahara. Anyway… I make my own milk/cream. Use the coconut water when you blend it. Makes the flavor more intense and the stuff is so good for you why not! I only make a bit at a time to use immediately because I can’t get things like guar gum here either. But I imagine the rest of the process would be just the same as PrimalGirl outlined.

      Oh but getting the coconut meat OUT of the coconut is a challenge! Takes a bit of work and some practice to figure out the best way. Look it up on youtube a bunch of people have posted videos.

      • I talked to a friend yesterday who makes coconut milk using the whole coconut – blending the meat and the water together and then following the procedure I have outlined above. They said it is the best coconut milk in the world, but that it takes A LOT of work. If you can’t get shredded coconut for convenience but you have a source of whole coconuts, I say try it! I’ll check out the YouTube videos, thanks for the tip! :)

      • That’s interesting, I’m from Brazil and we have sweetened as well as unsweetened shredded coconut. Thanks for the tip on making it with natural coconut.

  2. Bless your heart, dear. I was just this morning trying to figure out how I can stretch my pension budget to cover coconut milk and coconut butter. And had resigned myself to going out today and getting those expensive products anyway. I had the biggest smile when I opened up and read your email. Now I will go shopping and make my own. I am so pleased. Biggest hugs to you for sharing your information. Thank you!

  3. Soooooooo…. This looks pretty fabo! But what do I se coconut butter for? Sorry if that’s a stupid question… I don’t eat bread so what, do I just put it over veggies? Cheers.

    • No, that’s not a stupid question at all! I didn’t know what coconut butter was until 4 months ago, and before I had tried it I thought that it was kinda like coconut oil.
      It’s not. It’s like peanut butter. You can spread it on sticks of celery (I’ve never actually tried this so don’t shoot me if it’s gross), use it in recipes instead of almond or peanut butter, but honestly, my biggest use for it is to just eat it directly out of the jar with a big ol’ spoon. ;) It tastes sweet, but it’s not. It’s super creamy. It’s just good stuff.
      OH! It’s great to make Paleo nutballs with – grind up some nuts in the blender and some dried fruit if you want, add some coconut butter and a little coconut oil, add stuff like shredded coconut, cocoa or coffee if you’re feeling it and roll it into balls.
      But mostly I just eat it out of the jar.

          • I wasn’t able to kick the milk out of my coffee until I started making my own coconut milk, same drinking ratio above! Then to each mug I also add 1/6 of a cup of kerrygold unsalted butter. This makes a cuppa latte type coffee that is thick and creamy! I have one every single morning.

  4. Great information! I am definitely going to follow your instructions to make coconut milk since my family loves it and I spend way to much buying it already made. I notice your bowl in the picture looks like Polish Pottery, which I use and love! I am new to your blog and I am enjoying it a lot. You are an inspiration!

    • Basically, any water that you would feel comfortable drinking. The stuff out of my tap is full of chemicals, so I need to filter it. You could do that, or use bottled bottle, or if you’re lucky enough to be able to drink your tap water, that is cool too! :)

  5. Hi Primal girl,
    First let me give you big props, great site with excellent recipes and instructions. I’m a r&d chef that struggles daily with my primal lifestyle since i’m constantly working on non primal food for a living. I whole heartedly agree with you that much of what is in the marketplace can be made at home and is very approachable as you easily demonstrate. Wanted to give a little tip on the guar. Gums ie. xanthan, guar, carageenan are more readily dispersed if first mixed with a little sugar or salt. This helps from the possible clumping that you may encounter, also like you noted by slowly incorporating the gum into the base it allows the granules of gum to fully disperse and hydrate.
    Also, if people are experimenting with gums, the hydration rates vary as do the effectiveness in high acid systems (think tart or sour fruit sauces/drinks). So you may find that added additional gum to achieve a desired thickness might look correct but after an several minutes the gum may make the product thicker or if highly acid that after several hours or days the product will get significantly thinner.
    Keep up the awesome work!

    • Thank you so much! I had read somewhere to mix the guar gum with sugar, but it didn’t say why. Now I know! :) I don’t use this stuff in a lot of recipes so I don’t have a lot of chances to experiment. Info like this is great. Cheers!

  6. Hi, I just got a new food processor and am trying to make the coconut butter and I know ive read sites that say you have to leave it running for about 15minutes before it will turn into butter. some sites say you will see steam or heat rising from the blade after its been running and mine does this as well. im just concerned, does that happen with all food processors? is it safe to just let it run? i cant run it anymore than a minute without the steam coming up. its not smoking, its just hot. it is brand new. i tried checking the manual for maximum times you can let it run but it doesnt say. what do you think?

    • The steam is (probably) from the coconut, not from the machine itself so I personally wouldn’t be worried about it. I don’t know if this happens with all food processors, but it happens with my Vitamix and I’m not concerned about it. It means that I’ll have delicious coconut butter in a matter of minutes! :)

  7. Thank you for replying! That is good to know, I think you are right that the steam is most likely from the coconut releasing itself rather than the processor. I finally made coconut butter this morning after I decided to keep going with it despite the steam. My ears are still ringing, since I didn’t want to leave it running unattended afraid it might catch fire what with the heat and all. But it didn’t, and didn’t show any problems that I noticed. The fan underneath was warm but never really got overly hot hot. Eventually I created 1 cup of coconut butter, the real thing! It took me 70 minutes of stand by, blending, and scraping, but it did work eventually.

    For those of you wanting the measurements of how much this makes, essentially:
    3 tbsp shredded coconut will REDUCE TO = 1 tbsp coconut butter (110 cal, 2g net carb).

    I used a whole 250g bag of shredded dehydrated coconut and it made approx 1 cup.

    Maybe the fact that it was dehydrated was the reason mine took 70 minutes as opposed to 15. Its a shame it was only 1cup, really, because I dread doing another 70 minute stand by marathon of “tending” to this butter. Ill kill my boyfriend if he eats it all on me haha!

    • LOL yes, dehydrated coconut will take much longer. Try it with plain old macaroon coconut, it should be faster. But glad it worked! 70 minutes. Wow. You must have really been jonesin’. ;) Or determined.

      • Well I tried it again with regular coconut from the market, NOT dehydrated…and for 3 cups+ 1tbsp coconut oil, vanilla, and salt, the whole process took 15 minutes! I couldnt believe it! What a difference. So happy! Although, I tried to make a second batch with just 1 cup but nothing happened. So I added 1 more cup (all that was left: 2 cups in total) to see if the volume helped move it along…No such luck, but better. 45minutes running it could not get passed the clumpy stage. I think thats just because maybe I need at least 3 cups, otherwise there is not enough to keep it moving inside the processor. If there is too small of an amount it just sticks to the sides and stalls instantly, and I have to keep it turning it off and scraping it down, making no progress at all. Ill try again today, hopefully I can get it going!

  8. Hi there, Primal Girl!
    It’s , debby from Lake Merritt in Oakland. We met through email last year. Not sure you remember:)

    Anyhoo, I have been jonesing for some coconut butter, as I’m currently working on a muffin recipe booklet. However i recently had shoulder surgery, am not training clients or working much, and money is super tight. Just this evening I was dreaming about coconut butter and how euphoric it makes me feel and out pops your rss feed, and BOOM!, I click on over to your site and end up HERE!

    READ , READ ,READ…then bounced up and off my stability ball, ran to my cupboard in the kitchen(more like 10 steps to the next room) and measured out the rest of my coconut( and wouldn’t ya know it …exactly 2 cups!), and went to town…20 minutes later i have my coconut butter
    Bummer though is that it only made 1/2 cup:(

    I think i may have blended it a bit too much, as it’s pretty creamy and consistency of yogurt. But it’s also still warm, so maybe as it cools it will harden up…Almost crashed my blender with it smoking! Had to stop many times..All well worth it.

    Funny. the first time i ever had coconut butter it tasted like peanut butter to me!. Now that i don’t eat peanut butter(or rarely, and it can be addicting), I have my fix!

    Question: I realized i have no glass containers…Does this matter?

    If you’re still in the East Bay I’d love to meet up…

    Love your new look of the blog!
    Great stuff!
    DebbyK!

    • Hey Debby! Yes I remember you! You went to India to have your surgery, right? I hope you’re all healed up now and back on your feet. :)
      I’m still in the Bay Area and would LOVE to meet up! In fact, I started up a Primal meetup group (http://www.meetup.com/Nor-Cal-Primal-Group) and we are having a potluck in Oakland on July 8. Go join and I hope you can make it! I’m going to be giving away some goodies that our sponsor, The Primal Blueprint, has kindly donated. Should be awesome!!
      As for glass containers, it’s not a requirement. I just tend to store all my stuff in glass these days. I hate the taste that plastic imparts on food and I’m sure the chemicals aren’t great either. Stuff lasts longer in glass for me, plus I can easily see what’s in the container. I just feel better about it but you can certainly store your coconut butter in whatever you have.
      Hope to see you soon!! And hope your blender is up for another round when your butter runs out. ;) It’s great you were able to get it to that consistency – the stuff you buy from Artisana is about the same. It should firm up a bit when it cools, just like coconut oil will harden at room temperature. :)

      • PS The resulting coconut butter is usually about a third of the original amount, so you should have gotten 2/3 cup. :( Oh well, guess you’ll have to make MORE! :)

        • Hey there!
          I’m so sorry I missed your comment. I would love to have met up at the meet up… funny, a primal girlfriend of mine was over a few days before and was mentioning the meet up and the goodies.. i thought it might be your meet up that you had mentioned last year.

          Yes, i went to India , where i was able to eat my style of Paleo. Cme back and was healing up, and then tore my shoulder. Actually re injured an old tear. Long story short, 7 months after my hip surgery i had shoulder surgery, in My. This has been a huge shock for my very lean body to go through 2 mAajor surgeries..I wasn’t eating enough fat to recover from this second trauma so I’ve gone full blown fat mode!! Hence more coconut butter.

          So, I’m now in the coconut butter biz small scale. I have a few customers who order fresh butter weekly. I have 3 flavors and am experimenting with some more. . I will be coming out hopefully with some butters that some other super qualities added into them, without adding sugars.

          I’m selling the butters to raise money for all my medical expenses icured from both surgeries, and also so I can keep my apartment. I don’t have disability, worked for myself, and was just rebuilding my fitness biz when the hip surgery happened.

          I know we emailed about me talking at a meet up about my former sugar addictions, being a trainer, and helping others , lending positive vibes and motivation. I’d love to chat more about it and meet you, if you’re still interested…

          Iove the blog layout. I could use some help.Any suggestions?

          Can you ping me about everything at debkaplan@sbcglobal.net
          I’m still in sling and one finger typing…sorry for typos!@

          Cheers!
          debbyk!

  9. Hi Tara, just wanted to say thanks for the blog and kudos to you for the amazing changes in your life… I’m an online marketer, just embarking on the Primal/Paleo lifestyle… I noticed your question re why your wordpress blog is still getting traffic – if you get this and you want to send me an email, I can probably answer that and any other questions you’ve got re traffic, SEO, etc. I’d love to collaborate with you. In the meantime, thanks again for the fabulous testimonial… I’m 36 hours or so into the \”Diet\” (read total life change lol) and have already seen absolutely PHENOMENAL life changing alterations in my bod. Just amazing. AMAZING amazing amazing. Amazing! Anyway, thanks again, and all the best, :) Anna.

    • Thank you Anna! I definitely need some help or guidance. Unfortunately, my old address is mentioned in Mark Sisson’s book, so a lot of people are going there. I would love to have traffic redirected, but since it’s a wordpress address, I am not sure what to do. What did you have in mind by “collaboration?” :)
      36 hours and you’re already seeing changes! Can you IMAGINE how you’ll feel 36 DAYS in? Or WEEKS? It’s gonna be EPIC!! :)

  10. Great job Tara!
    Bought some shredded coconut at the local Co-op, will be soaking it tonight, then start up my 40yr old Vitamix and see what happens! I haven’t been to your blog in months, glad to re-visit, you continue to inspire me. Hope to see you on the 8th (still not sure).
    :) Shelley

      • Hi Tara!
        Sorry we didn’t make it too, we got too hot and tired at our rowing class. Not sure if it’s something we will continue , but it’s pretty cool. How was the meetup? Will you be sharing some recipes?
        Coconut milk is great! Just got my guar gum from Bob’s Red Mill via Amazon so I haven’t tried that yet. My old vitamix started leaking so I ordered a refurbished one.
        I just got my blood test results for food sensitivities and I can’t eat any dairy, grains (of course) or yeast (kombucha, etc). I’m so bummed about the dairy! I hope this will eliminate my thyroid auto-immune issue.
        Anyway, if you have heard of anyone resolving Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (auto-immune) let me know. I guess I’ll be having a lot more coconut milk now! Glad I found out how to make it!
        Cheers,
        Shelley

        • Hey Shelley! Don’t think I’ll be sharing any of the recipes from the potluck except for the liver/lamb meatballs which were amazing! Hope you can make the next one. That is so lame about the yeast and dairy!!! Bah. I’m afraid to get those tests done, I don’t want anything else taken away. O_o
          I know one person who has Hashimoto’s but she is pretty unforthcoming about talking about it. She’s in the meetup group, though, so I’ll introduce you to her next time. I’m not sure if she has a total handle on it, though. :)

  11. You know what, I just realized I also cheat when making the coconut milk. I use my hot water pot to bring the water to a boil then use this poured over my coconut to blend right away for about two minutes. No forethought required to soak. I’m sure this would lead to a “dead” resulting product, but if you don’t care about that it works well! Maybe it even keeps longer too!

  12. Just stumbled over your blog. Thanks so much for this recipe. It’s indeed so easy and I would have never thought about making my own coconut butter if it was not for you. Thanks a bunch!

  13. Doesn’t guar gum contain MSG? Thanks so much for sharing! I have some fresh coconuts on hand so I’m going to try this later today!

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  15. Hi, I find that guar gum, and xantham gum are very gut irritating for many, including myself. Has anyone experimented with sunflower lecithin?

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  17. Warning: guar gum is MSG …. I got headaches from store bought coconut milk and googled the ingredients…. Check it out! Make it without guar gum :)

    • My family doesn’t react to MSG, so I never realized. I don’t use the guar gum anymore, anyway, but for different reasons. I just don’t think it’s necessary, especially when the milk gets used up so quickly.

  18. Thanks Prima1girl for sharing your knowledge with us. I have recently been studying a lot about health, natural foods, and whole foods. I’m really enjoying finding recipes such as yours for my new way of eating.
    If I read right, did you lose 115 pounds? If you did I just want to congratulate you! What a great accomplishment. I hugely admire anyone that can do what you’ve done.

      • I have a bag of shredded coconut from Tropical Traditions. I wanted to make coconut creme to use in baked goods or to try to make ice cream. On their website they say that their coconut creme is the pure coconut meat so I was wondering if I put the shredded coconut in the blender would it give me just butter or could I use it the same way I would use coconut creme?

  19. I found this page through the 21-Day Sugar Detox daily email that I get. I already knew how to make my own coconut butter but I think I will be trying the coconut milk, especially since I will soon be experimenting with eliminating dairy products! How much does 1 cup coconut to 4 cups water actually make? Looks like it makes a lot, and for probably a lot less than $2.50 for a 14 oz can.

    It makes about 4 cups of coconut milk. Totally worth it!

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